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Morning Coffee Is Principled, Damnit

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On Mackovic. Talking to my brother this evening, he noted that he wished I'd delved further into details on Mackovic's career at Texas. Honestly, I'd planned to, but it's time to start digging into Greg Davis, and that's going a lot slower than I'd anticipated. Left to choose between wasting a full day or two on Mackovic or posting a summary of his career that more sets the stage for Davis' arrival, I went with the latter.

Plus, even two hours into the damn research and I was feeling nauseous.

Every time I think of losing to Baylor....

Cotton Bowl renovations near complete. I had completely forgotten until The Other Andrew reminded me, but the Cotton Bowl has been under construction, with long-overdue renovations and seating expansion nearing completion. As part of its bid to ensure the Red River Shootout remained at the State Fair for years to come, the City of Dallas and State Fair of Texas (SFT) in August 2006 issued a report acknowledging the following deficiencies:

* Undersized concourses cause overcrowding and gridlock
* Rest room fixture counts significantly below accepted standards
* Inadequate concessions with restricted queuing areas
* Outdated score boards; no video boards; inadequate sound system
* No club seating or suites
* Inadequate utility services
* Stadium does not meet ADA standards
* Inadequate seating capacity for major events; seats installed in 1968 nearing the end of their useful life

The City of Dallas and SFT committed $50 million to addressing the deficiencies, accepting bids on a two-phase renovation project, to be completed by September '08. In terms of seating, the renovations called for increased capacity to 92,000, and by the looks of some recent photos, they're well on their way:



Click either photo to enlarge. More photos here.

Wait, what? The Statesman reports that Robert Joseph has reached a plea deal for his summer crime spree. That's not huge news, but the comment from his attorney certainly shocks the senses:

[Attorney Jerry] Smith said Joseph has been contacted by several teams interested in signing him, including Oklahoma State and Houston.

Really? Joseph has quite a troubling track record with the law - the '07 crime(s!) weren't even the first on his record. Is this just his attorney blowing smoke or does he have a future at a D-1 school? I personally find it hard to believe. Ramonce Taylor agrees.

Bill Simmons takes on DJ. I received a couple post-draft emails asking me to take on Bill Simmons following his less-than-glowing take on Charlotte's selection of DJ Augustin at #9 in the NBA Draft. From Simmons' 'Draft Diary':

5:24: Our first stunner of the night: Charlotte reaching for D.J. Augustin at No. 9, followed by a shot of a devastated Brook Lopez in the stands. Hey, any time you have a chance to grab a career backup with the ninth pick, you gotta do it.

(Do you think Charlotte's war room is located on the ninth hole at MJ's golf course? Like, it's basically him on his cell phone and two other guys on Treos trying to rush the pick in before they sneak in nine more holes? The Bobcats might be the worst-run franchise in the league. And that's saying something. If MJ's Bulls career was like Ted Danson's run on "Cheers," then his Wizards comeback was "Becker," and this current Bobcats debacle is definitely "Help Me Help You.")

5:26: Stu explains Augustin is only 5-foot-11, but he has the wingspan of someone who's 6-3½. Well, that changes everything! At the very least, he's wearing the most interesting outfit tonight: a gray suit with a purple shirt and a pink tie. That will be a good look for him when he's Charlotte's 13th man next season.

5:34: I don't know how Jerryd Bayless just fell to the Pacers at No. 11, but it happened. Oh, wait, I know -- the Bobcats took a backup point guard at No. 9. That's right.

As I noted in my DJ Augustin draft profile for Rush The Court, I thought Augustin was lottery-bound and deservedly so. But I have to be honest here: it would be hypocritical of me to try to call out Simmons here. When the ESPN columnist was busy drooling over our Kevin Durant, he became for a short while a fan of the Longhorns. For an even shorter while, he became a fan of Burnt Orange Nation, and we even exchanged a few pleasant emails.

Then Simmons started picking on Barnes, I galloped to Rick's rescue, and by March, Texas fans - myself included - were expressing our annoyance with Simmons' intrusion. (In a rather funny development, it looked for a while like Bill had walked right into a Texas-sized curse. It got even better when the Patriots lost, prompting me to take petty retribution to a whole new level. Alas, the last laugh goes to Bill.)

Now that you've got the backstory: the crux of my argument last March was that though Bill Simmons knows the NBA as well or better than any sports writer out there these days, he was betraying a fundamental lack of understanding about the college game with his careless analysis of Barnes. I thought it was lazy and, if I was able to forgive Simmons for being so casual with his column-writing in, say, a mailbag or an NFL picks column, I expected better for basketball.

I still think that's true, and though I no longer carry a grudge in my back pocket (I chuckled when the Celtics won and Simmons was released from his mini-curse), I do still think he displayed a disappointing lack of understanding of the college game with his Barnes slams, and I wish he'd defer to those with a more informed opinion. Like, say, Texas hoops junkies.

And that's also why I can't really jump in and say that Simmons is a fool for dismissing Augustin's NBA chances. Because truth be told, I barely follow the NBA, and if Simmons really does think DJ's got an uphill battle to be more than a reserve... well, he'd know better than I.

I certainly hope he's wrong, and after watching DJ for two years I certainly think he's wrong. But I can't say that I would know better.

I wouldn't.

Stuff to read. Kirk Bohls features Brian Orakpo... Texas finishes fifth in the Director's Cup... The Louisville Courier-Journal's Rick Bozich wastes $40 buying five preseason mags... Don't make the same mistake! PB's The Eyes of Texas 2008 is almost off the press and for $12.99 gives Texas fans all they need for the upcoming season. More details soon.